In the past week I have noticed there were a few newspaper articles and blog posts on Wikipedia.

 

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Wikipedia is a free multilingual, open content encyclopedia project operated by the non-profit, Wikimedia Foundation. The site has been established since 2001, and is the fastest growing and most popular general reference work available on the internet.  It ranks number 7 on the top sites in Canada. 

Wikipedia has over 10 million articles posted in 253 different languages.  Just the other day, in a post by Mike ArringtonWikipedia had reached its 10 millionth article.

All of the articles posted on Wikipedia have been written interactively by volunteers from all around the world. The site can be edited by anyone, with an exception of a few pages, and that poses a problem.  

Dave Winer wrote a post on how random people think they have authority to write on Wikipedia, this is a problem because it creates invalid information and readers become wrongly informed. Just imagine how many people do it considering, we did it once as a class demonstration.

 

It has about 10-15 people who are actually paid employees of the company and they edit and monitor recently added content. Wikipedia wished to expand their staff to about 25 people by 2010. 

In an article found on the Globe and Mail website it stated that some people who contribute monetary donations to wikipedia thought that the organization is being reckless with the donations it receives, while others thought they should be spending more of the funds. Wikipedia needs the funds to keep their site up and running. This is why they seek out people who would like to donate to the site. Wikipedia is a site that needs to think of the long run because, according to most it is here to stay. Looking for donations is crucial for the sites operations. The donations keep the site in working order and pay the few employees on the payroll.  Alfred P. Sloan is donating three, 1 million dollar installments over the next 3 years. With his donation, he hopes that Wikipedia can become more financially stable in the years to come.

The sad thing is though, if wikipedia didn’t focus on donations they would have to go to the alternative of advertising on the wikipedia site. I don’t know about anybody else but I do not want to see any ads on the site. Ads just create clutter and confusion in my opinion. Hopefully Wikipedia will continue to look to its contributers for financial support, or we will soon be seeing ads on the wikipedia page.

 

Jen 

Classroom Twittering

March 3, 2008

I was just reading one of Mike Arrington’s blog posts on Twitter about how Twitter can be used in classrooms for reminders of whats going on in class. An example was if there was a test or assignment due the next day in class, Twitter could be used for a friendly reminder.

Would this be possible in our class or is it going too far? I haven’t yet used Twitter, only read about it, so would it be too much of a hassle to try a class Twitter blog that everyone could Twitter too?

Just a thought.

Also, just a side note, one of Robert Scoble’s post called “Diapers that Twitter when they are dirty…” referred to a post written by Phillip Torrone called “HOW TO – Make plants talk! […]”, which, in a sense, does exactly that.  He has been able to hook up a device to plants that will Twitter your “twitter blog” (for lack of knowing the right term), when they need to be watered.  If this is possible, almost anything could be possible.  Can you image how Blackberry addicts would use this.  They’d get twittered for just about anything.  I can’t wait to be one:P

Cheers,

David McKenna

Facebook for Baby

March 1, 2008

While reading through the required reading, I found Mike Arrington’s post on Totspot to be pretty good. First of all let me explain the Totspot site, in my opinion it is pretty much like a facebook for mothers and their babies. The mothers can post pictures of their babies on their page and pretty much document the baby’s entire childhood on the web. The parents can also have the page open to friends and family to check out or have them public for the entire Totspot members to see. Another feature of the site was that once you get all your babies’ precious moments and memories documented on the site you can order it in book form for a cost of course.

In my personal opinion, if I had a baby, I would not be putting pictures and a good amount of my baby’s personal information on the web. Like we talked about in class, once its out on the web it is hard to get it off there for good. And putting your child on the web cannot be a good thing, especially at such an early age, you never know who would be able to access their info. Also I think it would take away from the overall tradition of the baby book. Most parents document their child’s life in a book with notes, pictures, and baby’s first haircut and they add their own personal touches to the baby book. You just can’t get memories like that from the web.

Jen

I was reading through Mike Arrington’s page and read about a site called StickK. StickK is a site that basically helps you keep your resolutions or commitments. For example if you wanted to quit smoking, the contract would say something along the lines of if you don’t quit smoking there will be a penalty. The penalty, if they fail their challenge, would be to donate money to a charity. You can also get friends and family in on it as your own support system to help you actually stay true to your commitment. In visiting the site, the sign up is pretty easy, almost anyone could do it, and you can customize your goals to your own specifications, which is helpful because you can go at your own pace with your commitment.   

I think it’s a pretty good concept. For the most part, people really don’t like to do anything unless there is a reward in the end, or they will do it if they know there will be negative consequences if not. I think the site will help some people achieve their goals/commitments if their stakes are at play. And I guess you wouldn’t join the site or sign the contract unless you actually wanted to say for example quit smoking.

I find it funny that they think that donating money to a charity is a punishment though, but that’s just me.

 Jen

As we all have witnessed, reality tv is consuming a lot of television channels. I for one do enjoy a few reality shows such as Dancing with the Stars, Big Brother and a couple of others. But it gets to be a point of too much, especially with the dancing shows like now on much music you have So You Think You Can Dance, and this new Randy Jackson one called America’s Next Dance Crew. Oh and you can’t forget the spin off one called Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann. I guess it’s the only tv that isn’t reruns on now due to the writers strike. But just when I didn’t think it could go any further, I read Mike Arrington’s article on DanceJam. The article states that the new company DanceJam are getting new investors investing a bunch of money into the upcoming interactive site. Just to fill you all in, DanceJam is a company founded by MC Hammer (yes you read correctly, maybe he will make a comeback if we are lucky) and Geoffrey Arone, who co-founded the web browser maker Flock. They teamed up to create a website called DanceJam. To get an overview on the upcoming launch, click here. But basically on this website you are able to record yourself dancing and get others to rate your dancing skills and the results will show the top dancers around the world. You are also able to send video messages to fellow dancers and basically critique them on their dance. Also for those who aren’t all that agile on your feet, there is also a feature on the site that allows you to watch the videos in slow motion so that you can get the moves right. And as if that wasn’t enough there will be dance tutorials by the one and only MC Hammer.

All in all I think this site will be successful when it gets up and running. I also think this website will incorporate a lot of participation thru the web as well, like how to improve the dance number that you just witnessed or maybe people will even team up to dance together and share their works on the website. I will keep you guys posted on the release, and maybe in the future I will watch you guys dancing on DanceJam.

 Jen

This week I found there was a lot more variety, and I took a liking to Mike Arrington’s blog. I found an article that related to a few of the discussions that we had in class the past two weeks about audiobooks. In the post-called: Amazon Strengthens Its Digital Hand With $300 Million Purchase of Audible, it describes how Amazon has bought the right to sell audio books.

Although Amazon seems to be ecstatic about this acquisition, I’m not so sure it will be as successful as they hope it to be. With technology changing by the second, it does seem like a good idea to switch everything physical to digital, especially books in Amazon’s case. An audio book would prove to be useful, if you were in the car for a better part of your day or take road trips often, or if you just want to close your eyes and relax (you definitely cant do that if you wanted to read) or if you want to multi-task while listening to a favourite book. It is also very convenient not having to carry a book around whenever you have the urge to listen; it would be as easy to access thru your mp3.  Also it would be ideal for those who aren’t able to read at all. 

But what about those people who want the physical object in their hand. I know especially if you aren’t all that into technology, you would prefer to have the actual book in your hand. Also when you finish reading a book, you feel the satisfaction of actually finishing something and a lot of people keep a collection of books to show off what they have read throughout the years. And when somebody asks you “hey did you read this book” you can only respond with “no I only listened to it”, it isn’t quite as good in my opinion. 

~Jen

Since I’ve added Techcrunch on my RSS Reader I’ve read a lot about politics, which I’m not overly interested in, but I was interested in how Mike Arrington from Techcrunch asked each presidential candidate 10 key questions in technology, and posted the results online. After these questions were posted, they than asked the online community to do a poll on which candidate will do the most for technology.

The 10 questions were dealing with net neutrality, internet privacy, mobile spectrum rules, the digital divide, education (in technology), internet and taxes, immigration and H1B visas, intellectual property, China, and renewable energy.Mike Gravel

I’m actually really impressed with some of the answers that the candidates gave. If I was asked some of these questions I don’t know what I would say about questions like internet and taxes (the internet has taxes?), the digital divide (the what?), and mobile spectrum rules (something to do with phones I’m assuming). I can’t imagine what these presidential candidates, such as Mike Gravel, could possibly know about the digital age and technology (mainly because Mike Gravel looks like he’s my grandfathers great, great grandfather).

The outcome of the poll can be seen here, which was taken from December 18th to January 28th. On the democratic side Barack Obama was way ahead with 60% of the votes and on the republican side Ron Paul was way ahead with 73%. I think because these two candidates are leading in the technology sector they will gain a lot of votes that the non-computer savvy candidates won’t have.

If anyone wants to view the questions and answers here are Barack Obama, John McCain, John Edwards, Mitt Romney, Mike Gravel, and Dennis Kucinich’s answers.

I was wondering if Canadians politicians use the internet much during elections, and if they do, who are the prominent leaders in this area. Like I said, politics don’t really concern me much so I have no idea.

Thats all for now.

Cheers,

David McKenna